6 Tips for Finding the Best Real Estate Agent
When purchasing a real estate property, it is but natural to be wary and to be extremely careful in taking every step involved carefully. This is especially true as you employ the services of a real estate professional. But of course, you would want to hire only the best. A bigger question now is, how do you actually find the agent you can completely trust?
Paula Pant, an award-winning journalist specializing in personal finance, investing, real estate and entrepreneurship, wrote in her blog for Trulia the following steps to take when in search for that ideal agent.
1. Collect curated referrals
When on the lookout for someone who has outperformed, watch your entire network and focus on positive indicators, such as how long a friend's house sat on the market, or the enthusiasm he expressed for his great buying or sales price , then ask that person who knows an agent with such qualities for a referral . Dana Dratch included in her tips posted on Bankrate that recent clients of a prospective agent may also be asked of his or her performance.
2. Look for specialists
Real estate agents can specialize in certain areas, like working with seniors, assisting with short sales and foreclosures, or helping first-time buyers. Search thru Google the name of your city, town, or plus the words "real estate," and then your special circumstance, such as "senior". Or you may also call a brokerage that has a major presence in your community and ask for a list of its agents with designation. You may also check out the directories of real estate agencies.
Dratch gave the meaning to some of the designations :
CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Completed additional training in handling residential real estate.
ABR (Accredited Buyer's Representative): Completed additional education in representing buyers in a transaction.
SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Completed training aimed at helping buyers and sellers in the 50-plus age range.
3. Consider brokers of all sizes
Expand your search and include agents housed by smaller brokerages. While the big names are great choices, don't overlook some of the smaller brokers in your community, including the one-person or two-person operations.
4. Focus on neighborhood experience
In real estate, location is very important so look for an agent or broker who holds specific neighborhood knowledge and experience. Likewise, you may also look for "teams." There's a subset of agents, under a larger brokerage, that specializes in representing a particular geographic niche.
5. Look for peer awards
Once more use Google to search for a list of agents in your area who have won awards from the local or state branch of the National Association of Realtors. Such awards show that the agent has high standing within his or her community and therefore may represent you well.
6. Ask a few questions
In your first meeting, ask the agent these questions:
Are you working full-time or part-time?
How long have you been in business?
What niche do you specialize in? (Could be geographic area or circumstance.)
Can you tell me about homes for sale in (a particular) neighborhood? This question is for you to assess how well the agent can respond on his or her feet as you want someone who is already knowledgeable about the area.